January 2008 - LiveEdit Lab

Embracing the Readership: Electronic Retailer Launches Blog and LiveEdit Lab

By Pat Cauley

In an ambitious move, Electronic Retailer magazine has recently decided to engage its readers in new and interesting ways. Rather than simply providing content and educational information, Electronic Retailer is now inviting its readers to dive into the discussion with us. This month, readers will be able to add their two cents by joining the discussion on our new blog. This online community will serve as a launching point for dialogue on controversial and edgy topics. The purpose of this is to be able to debate, share and discuss opinions on a variety of industry-related issues with your peers. It will also be entertaining and fun. Hopefully, you’ll decide to break up your hectic or monotonous workday and engage with the blog for a few minutes. While asking for your participation in the virtual world is hardly a shock, Electronic Retailer also wants to see you in person.

Reading through the New York Times editorials, I often find myself wanting to chat about, question or even applaud the topics being addressed that open my mind up to new ways of thinking. Imagine being able to get to the meat of the issues with Maureen Dowd, Frank Rich and Thomas Friedman. Now, while the Times may be a pipe dream, Electronic Retailer adopted this model of thinking when developing its LiveEdit Lab. Literally taking the editorial on the road, the first LiveEdit Lab will be held on January 30, in Santa Monica, Calif. The idea is to deliver the editorial of the magazine in a live forum where readers will be able to learn about new trends, while at the same time having the opportunity to pose questions to speakers during the sessions and at intimate roundtables.

“We have a very active readership, and I often receive calls from readers asking questions about the magazine and the Association. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that we needed to create an outlet for our readership. It had to be something that put them face-to-face with the editorial they read in the magazine each month,” says Gina Mullins-Cohen, executive vice president of media, ERA and editorial director/publisher, Electronic Retailer Media Group.

Deciding on a location to launch the LiveEdit Lab was also an important part of the process. “We decided to choose Los Angeles because it’s a significant, important economic market for retailers. So, we wanted to immediately provide content directly to our subscribers and people interested in the publication,” says Ruth Wheeler, director of new business technologies for Electronic Retailer. By placing the event in a big city, Cohen hopes attendees can plan to attend the event, but also find use of their time in L.A. by setting up additional meetings and media interviews.

“As far as the Hotel Casa Del Mar goes, we wanted to have our Lab in a rich, stimulating environment, and we believe the beachfront gives people that relaxation so they can take in more from the event. If they want to extent their weekend, it’s a great place to do it,” says Wheeler.

The day’s agenda features keynote speaker Jim Sterne, president of Target Marketing. “Jim Sterne has more than 22 years of experience in Internet marketing, and he’s considered something of a guru. He’s authored several books on online marketing and spoken at countless conferences. He even launched his own eMetrics Summit, which is attended by the leading minds in web analytics; it’s a must-attend event. We’re expecting him to share his knowledge base in Internet marketing with our audience and explain why web analytics is a silver bullet when it comes to having an e-commerce site. What is data? Data is just data. But, what you do with it is really what determines whether or not you have successful marketing and sales efforts,” says Wheeler.

Sterne is also president and founder of the Web Analytics Association (WAA). Cohen says that the partnership with Sterne and WAA is one of importance and great potential for the Electronic Retailing Association, which will hold a networking happy hour for attendees and ERA members after the sessions. Topics to be addressed during the various sessions include: web analytics, search engine marketing, behavioral targeting, online video, e-mail marketing, social media marketing and mobile marketing.

Electronic Retailer hopes to expand upon the LiveEdit Lab, taking it on tour to other cities with different topics, yet always staying true to multichannel issues that are covered in the publication.

“What really distinguishes the LiveEdit Lab from other industry meetings and conferences is the fact that it is truly editorially based,” says Cohen. “There is no tradeshow floor. It’s a live forum for people who want to address topics that are most relevant to their companies and who want to ask the questions that will have the most impact on their businesses.”

For more information on the LiveEdit Lab, please visit www.electronicretailermag.com/liveedit. To check out the Electronic Retailer blog, please visit www.electronicretailerblog.com.

Pat Cauley is Electronic Retailer’s eMedia editor. He can be reached at (703) 908-1030, or via e-mail at [email protected].


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